Bar cards available for download or order
Starting this year, attorneys may conveniently order a plastic and/or paper bar card, online through My State Bar Profile after their payment has been processed by the State Bar billing office.
Log into your profile and go to the "Bar Card and Other Documents" heading, click on “Get my Bar Card and Other Documents” and follow the prompts to request your plastic card. It can take up to three weeks for delivery so those who need one sooner should print a paper bar card.
A survey last year found that more than half of attorneys did not use the cards, so the State Bar discontinued the automatic mailing of plastic cards. For questions, contact Member Records at email@example.com or 888-800-3400.
Find a certified/registered court interpreter
Under Government Code Section 68561 (with definitions in Section 68560.5), a deposition in a civil case filed in a court of record is a “court proceeding” and therefore an interpreter used shall be either: 1) a certified court interpreter for languages designated by the Judicial Council (see link for current languages: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/CIP-Certified-Languages.pdf) or 2) a registered court interpreter for languages not designated by the Judicial Council (all other languages). Attorneys can use the Judicial Council master list (http://www.courts.ca.gov/3796.htm) to search for certified and registered interpreters who are in good standing with the council.
Attorneys should also be aware that effective Jan. 1, 2015, California Government Code Section 68561 was amended to include section (h), which requires certain information that a certified or registered interpreter must state for the record in the deposition and the documentation regarding the interpreter’s qualifications that a certified or registered interpreter must present to both parties in a deposition.
Running for judicial office? Take this mandatory free course
California judges and lawyers seeking judicial office must take an online judicial ethics course within 60 days of filing for office, creating a campaign committee or receiving a campaign contribution. The mandatory judicial ethics course went online in 2014.
The course was developed by a working group of justices, judges and lawyers after the Supreme Court adopted the mandatory rule, along with other changes to the California Code of Judicial Ethics, almost a year ago. The Rules of Professional Conduct require a lawyer candidate for judicial office to comply with the Code of Judicial Ethics. The rule came out of the work of the Commission for Impartial Courts.
Consult the Ethics Hotline
Time is money and legal research takes time. California legal ethics research can be particularly time-consuming. First, California is not an ABA Model Rule jurisdiction, so dusting off your law school textbook or simply Googling won’t always cut it. On top of that, the applicable California law is often found in multiple sources, many of which are unfamiliar to most lawyers. If you consult the California Rules of Professional Conduct, that’s great, but you can’t stop there. Consider the following questions:
● May an attorney use inadvertently disclosed confidential information?
● Does the “no contact” rule permit an attorney to imply opposing counsel’s consent?
● Is a “virtual law office” an ethical alternative for starting a solo practice?
You can get assistance in researching these questions by calling the State Bar of California’s Ethics Hotline. This call-back service is free, staffed by live people and typically has a turnaround time of one business day or less.
If you’ve never tried calling the Ethics Hotline, here’s the official pitch: The Ethics Hotline is a confidential telephone research service for attorneys. This service is staffed by specially trained paralegals who can refer callers to the California Rules of Professional Conduct, State Bar Act sections, published bar association ethics opinions and other relevant authorities. Although the Ethics Hotline staff does not render opinions or give advice, this guidance serves as a valuable resource that can jump-start legal ethics research and aid lawyers in making informed decisions about their legal ethics questions.
Attorneys can reach the Ethics Hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays by calling 800-238-4427 (800-2-ETHICS) from within California, or 415-538-2150 when calling from outside of California.
Use this form for fee disputes with clients
Attorneys who encounter a fee dispute with a client are reminded to use the State Bar’s version of the Notice of Client’s Right to Fee Arbitration form. The form has been approved by the State Bar Board of Trustees and contains the State Bar seal to ensure that lawyers provide clients with the correct form.
Business and Professions Code Section 6201(a) requires that lawyers send the notice to their clients before or at the time of initiating a lawsuit or other action to collect fees. Attorneys are legally required to use the State Bar’s form – not their own version put on their firm’s letterhead.
Mandatory fee arbitration is designed to reduce the number of fee disputes that end up in court. The vast majority of fee disputes handled through the mandatory fee arbitration process are resolved without filing an action in superior court, saving the courts valuable time and money, said Doug Hull, director of the State Bar’s Mandatory Fee Arbitration Program.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
Stay informed by following us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We’ll give you a heads up about important regulatory information and let you know about other happenings at the State Bar. If you’re seeking information relevant to your particular practice area, the State Bar’s voluntary sections and the California Young Lawyers Association also have a presence on social media.
Opt out of sharing certain information
As of Jan. 1, 2016 the State Bar of California is subject to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). For more information regarding the impact of CPRA on the bar’s obligation to release member information, please log on to My State Bar Profile. Go to “account information” and select “update my mailing preferences (opt out).”